Onboarding a New Work-from-home Employee

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Topics: Cybersecurity, vCIO

Are you preparing to hire new employees that will work from home (WFH) for the foreseeable future? Just like onboarding new on-site employees, the first 15 days are critical.  Sure, the onboarding process includes the HR department, team leaders or managers, and possibly even mentors. But don’t  forget to include your organization’s IT team in the process. 

Today, more than ever, it is essential to include your IT team in the onboarding process. First, I will provide some general tips and then some tips specific to the new method of onboarding WFH employees. As I write this blog, we are entering the sixth month of a wide-spread WFH trend. The past months have taught business leaders a lot of lessons, especially IT managers. 

Recently, I wrote a blog about the mix of WFH and homeschooling. The blog highlighted the importance of technology during this new reality of work and home life. Now, I’ll build on that reality, while adding the stress of a new job into the mix. Remember, it is not only stressful for the new hire, but also the company onboarding new staff.

Here are my tips for business leaders and IT managers.

The onboarding IT checklist

The first steps to onboarding new employees should be the same for on-site staff and WFH team members. It’s also essential to work closely with the HR department or manager. While working through the below list, keep in mind that due to the COVID-19 crisis, it may take longer than you estimate to complete the below five tasks:

  1. Review all the hardware needed to onboard a new employee with your IT team and the HR Department. Will you provide a laptop or a smartphone? Do you need to order the hardware, or do you have the required hardware? Is documentation ready for the new hire to sign as they take possession of company-owned hardware?
  2. What software or cloud technology will the new hire be using? Do you have a license to cover the provision? Be sure to include any phone apps and subscriptions to your list.  Task someone to ensure that all software, phone apps and subscriptions are ready-to-use on day one of employment.  
  3. Does the new hire's contract include the provision of home internet? Will this be covered with the employee's expense account and how  will the IT department be involved?
  4. Aside from a company-branded email address, what access do they need to file shares and corporate intellectual capital? Ensure this is complete before the employee’s start date so the new team member can learn and ask questions during orientation.
  5. What about corporate new-hire training? If your company requires completing a training program in the first days of employment, are you ready to launch the program? Does the training include security training, to include an acceptable use policy for work-related data, software, hardware and social media use?

5 tips to onboarding a WFH employee

The first 15 days of employment are critical for the productivity and lifespan of a new hire. The new employee must feel that the company is ready from day one and feel part of a team. The first 15 days sets the tone. 

 "Many managers wing the onboarding normally, doing it on the fly, but with everything being virtual, more structure is needed, meaning manager coaching is more important," - Brent Pearson, the CEO and founder of Enboarder

Over the past six months, we have learned that onboarding a new WFH employee takes extra time. Here are 5 tips to use while preparing to onboard a new virtual employee.

  1. It takes extra time to gather supplies and ship them to the home of the new hire.  Laptops and possibly smartphones should be loaded with software and applications before shipping—plan for the hardware to arrive before the employee’s start date. The employee should have all the needed supplies and be able to participate in group meetings on day one of employment.
  2. Before the start date, ensure the IT team sets up corporate branded email and sends instructions for logging into that account. Some of the best organizations have a white-glove session with new staff members to make sure there’s no immediate technical hurdles to getting onto the computer and phone system. This can still be accomplished remotely.
  3. As most employees are now part of the WFH environment, update all your cybersecurity protocols for virtual work. Remember that the best firewall is the human firewall. For ideas, review the MainSpring ASAP Program. As you are welcoming a new employee, consider providing a review of protocols. Remember to include protocols for video communication and your company policy. You can find a MainSpring blog about securing video meetings here.
  4. Ensure that the new hire is using a secure VPN to log in to their corporate account.
  5. Consider scheduling a meeting with an IT mentor for the new hire on their first day of employment. During the video call, a member of the IT team can review software, answer questions, and ensure that the new employee feels comfortable with hardware, software, and protocols.  

Prepare with structure

If the first 15 days are critical to a new employee's productivity and lifespan, is your IT team ready for the challenge? MainSpring is a technology services provider in the Maryland, DC and Virginia region. Our ProSuite Program can assist with onboarding new WFH employees while professionally managing your IT.